Kyr­gios warned he is jeop­ar­dis­ing ca­reer

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Tennis - By Char­lie Ec­cle­share

Mark Philip­pous­sis, the for­mer Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist, said last night he was tired of Nick Kyr­gios’s “bulls---” – and John Mcen­roe warned the 23-year-old would have no fu­ture in ten­nis un­less he changed his ways.

Hav­ing been de­feated in the sec­ond round of the Brisbane In­ter­na­tional, which dumped him out of the world’s top 50 for the first time in four years, Kyr­gios sug­gested on Twit­ter that Aus­tralian Davis Cup cap­tain Lley­ton He­witt had stopped at­tend­ing his matches.

Kyr­gios wrote: “He has what some call aban­don [sic] us.” Kyr­gios deleted the tweet and claimed it was a joke once the back­lash en­sued. But it was too late.

Speak­ing to The Daily Tele­graph, Philip­pous­sis, an­other tal­ented Aus­tralian of Greek ex­trac­tion, said he was sick of Kyr­gios’s “bulls---”. Mcen­roe, a fan but fre­quent critic, added that un­less Kyr­gios changed his at­ti­tude, “he’s not go­ing to be in ten­nis in a cou­ple of years”.

Five years ago, Kyr­gios an­nounced him­self with a stun­ning win over Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wim­ble­don. A run to the Aus­tralian Open last eight in 2015 re­ceived praise from Andy Mur­ray af­ter their quar­ter-fi­nal. Mur­ray then added a note of cau­tion: “He’ll make some mis­takes. Grow­ing up in the spot­light isn’t easy.”

Within seven months, Kyr­gios ex­ited Wim­ble­don af­ter ap­pear­ing to “tank” against Richard Gas­quet, and was con­demned for crudely sledg­ing Stan Wawrinka about his girl­friend, Donna Ve­kic, dur­ing a match in Mon­treal.

There have been highs since – crack­ing the world’s top 15, a first Masters fi­nal, four ATP ti­tles – but also count­less con­tro­ver­sies. On the flip side is that, away from the court, Kyr­gios is ac­knowl­edged as a de­cent hu­man be­ing, with his char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren earn­ing ac­claim.

Philip­pous­sis of­fered a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on why Kyr­gios is strug­gling. “Peo­ple go on about how tal­ented Nick is but he’s ter­ri­fied to show that he’s try­ing be­cause if he loses then it’s be­cause he wasn’t good enough,” he said.

“When­ever he loses, ev­ery­one goes on In­sta­gram and says: ‘Dude, if you only tried you’d be that good.’ That’s a com­plete bulls--- cop out.

“There’s no other sport where you lose as much as ten­nis. There’s noth­ing wrong with los­ing matches but Nick’s just not go­ing to get through that. That’s the dif­fer­ence.”

Tal­ented: Nick Kyr­gios be­fore an ex­hi­bi­tion vic­tory over Rafael Nadal this week

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